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Unread 01-08-2005, 12:46 PM   #1
Dennis
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Interpreter dress code

As an offshoot from another thread, I'm starting this one.

A poster on these forums stated that these women in the below picture "look like professional interpreters"



Quoting that poster:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Reba
Terps are supposed to wear clothing that is an easy contrast with the color of their skin, and not confusing for the eyes. That means, white terps wear black, navy blue, dark green, dark burgandy, dark gray. Black terps wear cream, pastels, beige. Terp clothes can't have stripes, flowers, polka dots, plaids, or any kind of "busy" pattern. Subtle patterns are OK. No long earrings, no bright nail polish, no bracelets or watches, only simple rings (not on every finger), no shiny fabrics, no visible tatoos, no long hair bangs, no bushy mustaches or beards, and no turtleneck sweaters. Nothing "distracting" is allowed. Also, terps have to be careful not to have anything too loose on their shirts, like loops or baggy pockets, because you can get "hung up" in them (it has happened to me). We have to be careful with our glasses, too. Sometimes they go into orbit with certain signs, ha, ha.

I usually wear long skirts or slacks while terping because I am either standing on a platform or sitting at the front of a room facing the audience or class. I don't want to offer any "free shows", if you know what I mean. My other preference is no sleeveless tops. I don't want people to see my upper arms flapping in the breeze while signing.

Of course, terps have to dress appropriate to the setting. That is, formal for church, court, and business meetings, or casual for sports events or industrial work places. At the college, I usually dress similar to the instructors.

The Deaf clients do not demand that. That is just what is normal professional appearance for terps. If a terp doesn't dress appropriately, then the clients can complain, and the boss will have a "talk" with the terp.

A few of our Deaf clients also have low vision, so we have to be even more careful about what we wear for them.

If you saw my clothes closet you would think I go to a lot of funerals, ha, ha.
For the most part, I agree with this poster. I would like to add that in my industry, there is some leeway for interpreters to wear "smocks" which are simply solid-colored jackets worn over their normal clothes. Depending on if the interpreter is a full time interpreter or if they're a part time interpreter, that will affect their attire.

I've worked with certified interpreters who are hired as admin assistants as their "day job" at the office. They are allowed to dress business casual, and as creative admin assistants tend to do, they dress creatively, often seasonally. Off the top of my head, I remember blue/black striped sweaters, white shawls, orange turtlenecks, white/navy plaid blouses, and green cardigans.

When an interpreter is needed, the certified admin assistant are called to do so with a smock if necessary. If their interpreting skills are needed in advance, they are informed and are expected to show up dressed appropriately.

I have seen them dress like the picture above with advance notice especially if someone like a company executive or a customer will be present, vs. a conference call where they're not seen and have to dress to impress.

Last edited by Dennis; 01-08-2005 at 12:55 PM.
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Unread 01-08-2005, 01:46 PM   #2
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You pretty much said everything. That's what I like on my interpreters. I have had a couple of interpreters in the past who wear horrible flashy clothes.
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Unread 01-08-2005, 01:50 PM   #3
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It really doesn't bother me what type of clothes any interpreters wear as long they have clothes on them ....
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Unread 01-08-2005, 03:11 PM   #4
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If I had to use an interpreter I would prefer looking at a halter top and mini skirt
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Unread 01-08-2005, 03:27 PM   #5
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I'd have to say that I'm with bbnt all the way on this one...
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Unread 01-08-2005, 04:24 PM   #6
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LOL...

Of course you guys rather to see that on any women for that matter!!...
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Unread 01-08-2005, 04:46 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Liebling:-)))
Its up to terps whatever they want to wear, including ear pierce, nail polish, hair style, etc. We would lose terps if we kept on compaint about them all the time. (We need terps badly since we have few terps in Bavaria where we live) Terps here wear anything what they wants because itīs them, we learn to accept as they are also accept what I am, too.

Honestly, terpsīs taste of clothes doesnt bother me because I accept what they are.
I guess each country is different. In the USA, professional terps are supposed to follow guidelines of appearance and behavior. The reason for dressing a certain way has nothing to do with style or personal preference. One reason is to make it easier for the Deaf client to see the signs clearly, and not get tired eyes. Another reason is to look professional, not like a volunteer terp from off the street. A third reason is to not embarress the Deaf clients in front of the hearing clients.

If a terp has a professional attitude, then he/she should not mind dressing appropriately.

If a client complains about the terp's appearance or behavior, nothing bad happens to the client. They don't "lose" terps. If the terp wants to keep working, the terp must make the changes.

Of course, a terp should never, never criticize the clothing of a client.

I am curious. How do you hire terps in Bavaria? Thru an agency, or as individuals in private practice, or ...? Who pays?
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Unread 01-08-2005, 05:59 PM   #8
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I remember seeing a professional interpreters in action when I was a kid (mid-70s). They were wearing dark navy blue lab coats. I guess it was standard attire back then, right?
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Unread 01-08-2005, 06:35 PM   #9
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I know for sure interps hate those "smocks", they'd rather wear something they like and match the standard clothing requirements for being on the job than to wear a fugly "smock".

Quote:
Originally Posted by bbnt
If I had to use an interpreter I would prefer looking at a halter top and mini skirt
Quote:
Originally Posted by Levonian
I'd have to say that I'm with bbnt all the way on this one...
Yeah, yeah.. You'd find them in Utah! Some of them even wear see-through blouses! Just ask RedTwister!
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Unread 01-08-2005, 06:57 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deaf258
I know for sure interps hate those "smocks", they'd rather wear something they like and match the standard clothing requirements for being on the job than to wear a fugly "smock".
I have never had an assignment requiring a smock. Most terps prefer more professional attire now. A smock is OK in an emergency, if you don't have time to change clothes. Also, most adult clients now prefer to use terps that "blend in" better with the crowd and not look so "institutional".
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Unread 01-09-2005, 01:58 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reba
I have never had an assignment requiring a smock. Most terps prefer more professional attire now. A smock is OK in an emergency, if you don't have time to change clothes. Also, most adult clients now prefer to use terps that "blend in" better with the crowd and not look so "institutional".
I agree, I think smocks are pretty much a thing of the past, or at least that is what I have heard from people who have been interpreting for 20 or 30 years and have seen the profession change.

The above picture is very professional, but it definitely depends on where you are interpreting. In a business environment, that would be very appropriate. In a community college setting (where I mostly interpret), that would be too formal. I would feel really silly if I were dressed better than the teacher! I usually wear a black or dark blue plain T-shirt (no pockets, logos, etc.) and a pair of neutral-colored pants. However, if I were to interpret at a university, I would have to dress more formally, or so I hear.
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Unread 01-09-2005, 02:00 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bbnt
If I had to use an interpreter I would prefer looking at a halter top and mini skirt
That just cracked me up. I have heard some INTERESTING stories about some interpreters who would have made you very happy!
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Unread 01-09-2005, 10:09 AM   #13
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Smile Interpreters should dress nice.

I agree with you Reba,
Interpreters should dress in nice clothes that are comfortable.
They shouldn't wear alot or jewerly, especially alot of dangeling earrings,
bangel bracelets ect.
And if they have long hair, it shoiuld be put up in a nice bun out of the way.
I'm an interpreter myself,and I've seen one interprerter at GWC( Golden West College in Hunginton Beach CA), she got fired cause the deaf students compalined she was playing her hair and jewerly.
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Unread 01-09-2005, 10:59 AM   #14
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I had interpreters, who dresses nice and others dress normal. It doesn't bother me as long nothing too freaky.
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Unread 01-09-2005, 06:31 PM   #15
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I agreed that interpreters should dress professionally since it is a job after all. One thing about the picture, I don't think interpreter should wear mini skirts or any skirts above the knee. Maybe it won't bother the deaf client but it can be distracting for others who can probably see "underneath."
Skirts lengths that pass the knee should be okay.

Interpreter should dress to blend in the environment such as the college university. I had a professor who came to class teaching with flip flops, beach shorts, and tie dye shirts. I know I would feel out of place if the interpreter showed up too professionally dress for that class.
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Unread 01-09-2005, 09:49 PM   #16
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Most an interpreter wear dark uniforms, designed help with a deaf and visually impaired see clearly.
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Unread 01-14-2005, 04:22 PM   #17
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So glad I found this discussion!! I am an interpretter for a church and several people (including the friend I interpret the most for!) have thought my concerns about dress were a bit strange at times... but I thought I remembered talking about dress in one of my classes. One thing I try to do... I stand in front of a mirror and sign a few phrases before I leave to interpret somewhere. If I can't follow a few phrases in the mirror, I know that my friend would have difficulty following me for a whole hour in whatever I had chosen to wear. Thanks all for the input!!
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Unread 01-14-2005, 11:29 PM   #18
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I believe it's important what interpreters wear. I remember a teacher of the deaf talking to me about it a few years and we were discussing what kind of dress was appropriate for interpreters. I found colours that were not dark the most distracting because of their hands being blurred with the colours. It's not such a problem at a close distance but further away, it does get tiring. I have eye problems as well, so it is even more important to me.

However, most interpreters these days seem to ignore this and they wear whatever they feel like... which is a pain. The most professional interpreters I have seen are the ones that follow the dress code very carefully.
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Unread 01-15-2005, 12:01 AM   #19
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As long as she or he know how to wear Dress Code. I would like to see person wear nice clothes. Not need V shirt or Flash shirt to show off skin, don't wear Skirt too short, don't wear too makeup and perfume, and don't use Bright colored nail polish. It never happened to me before...(knock the wood). Mostly of them wear and show appropriate appearance and clothes.
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Unread 01-15-2005, 12:42 AM   #20
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What about tongue studs? I once had an interpreter with one, and it was kinda distracting with all the metal glinting and all that.
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Unread 01-15-2005, 11:03 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ziusudra
What about tongue studs? I once had an interpreter with one, and it was kinda distracting with all the metal glinting and all that.
Personally, I think the terp should remove it during assignments. It is distracting to the client. Also, when the terp is required to speak for the Deaf client, the stud impedes speech, and can reflect negatively on the Deaf client.
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Unread 01-15-2005, 11:26 AM   #22
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tongue studs dont bother me -- i had this terp who has one but i LIKED her alot -- she was GOOD (and CUTE as hell) and she had the tongue stud -- very down to earth -- thats the kind of terp i generally like cuz theyre not so TENSE

ive had BAD BAD BAD terps its usually those who were wayyy too tense, not fluid enuf with their ASL skills
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Unread 01-15-2005, 12:25 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reba
I guess each country is different. In the USA, professional terps are supposed to follow guidelines of appearance and behavior. The reason for dressing a certain way has nothing to do with style or personal preference. One reason is to make it easier for the Deaf client to see the signs clearly, and not get tired eyes. Another reason is to look professional, not like a volunteer terp from off the street. A third reason is to not embarress the Deaf clients in front of the hearing clients.

If a terp has a professional attitude, then he/she should not mind dressing appropriately.

If a client complains about the terp's appearance or behavior, nothing bad happens to the client. They don't "lose" terps. If the terp wants to keep working, the terp must make the changes.

Of course, a terp should never, never criticize the clothing of a client.

I am curious. How do you hire terps in Bavaria? Thru an agency, or as individuals in private practice, or ...? Who pays?
Interesting: Itīs good that you want to keep your job as terps and respect your clients what you wear but for us is different. Terps would leave us if we demand too much from them and no respect etc.

Sorry for not response your post an earlier.

I talked a terp. & my friends about your post and need their feedback last week. They are total surprised and said that itīs too much demanding. The terp. said she understood that every countries are different. Her question: Would you wear like this during hot summer time? She said that she will tell her clients to look for other terps if they do not sataisfy what she wear. My friends said that deafies should be glad that they have terps. around. Why demanding too much?
Honestly Reba, I order terps often for years due parent meeting, evenings, conference, lawyers, doctors, agreement contract, etc. etc. The kind/color of clothes, jewellery, hair, make-up etc. what terps wear is really doesnt bother me & my friends. I never heard any complaints against terpīs clothes until I read any posts here for a first time. (no offense).
I ordered terp last summer. She wore mini rock and t-shirt.

Yes, we hire terps thru agency. Thereīre professional and non-certifcated terps around. Agency do not accept "private" terps and would not pay me if I hire private terps.

The Agency have strict rules for terps except clothes what they should wear.
I apply my wish terp. to agency then they make an arrangement for me where I should meet, time, etc. etc. etc.

Agency cover terps cost:
Parent evening, meeting, conference, lawyer, rights, agreement contract with bank over house loan, notary, etc etc. except divorce........

Healthy insurance cover terps cost:
therapies,
contract agreement with doctor before an operation
important appointment with doctor over result etc

Court cover terps cost:
criminals, etc etc except divorce


No offense to everyone
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Unread 01-15-2005, 12:27 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fly Free
tongue studs dont bother me -- i had this terp who has one but i LIKED her alot -- she was GOOD (and CUTE as hell) and she had the tongue stud -- very down to earth -- thats the kind of terp i generally like cuz theyre not so TENSE

ive had BAD BAD BAD terps its usually those who were wayyy too tense, not fluid enuf with their ASL skills
yeah, some of terps have tongue studs, eye-brow studs. They look beautiful when they sign with tongue stud on it, also color nail polish with "diamond" on it. wwwoooww
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Unread 01-15-2005, 12:35 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Liebling:-)))
yeah, some of terps have tongue studs, eye-brow studs. They look beautiful when they sign with tongue stud on it, also color nail polish with "diamond" on it. wwwoooww
ohhh yea nailpolish -- ack i DO NOT like those who uses RED nailpolish im ok if they used neutral colors -- earth tones or clear is good with me pink can be acceptable if its not so BRIGHT PINK if u get the idea
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Unread 01-15-2005, 08:32 PM   #26
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Buttttttt

Can I dress like Sharon Stone in movie Basic Instinct..???


I just need to uncross my legs.
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Unread 01-17-2005, 10:10 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Liebling:-)))
Interesting: Itīs good that you want to keep your job as terps and respect your clients what you wear but for us is different. Terps would leave us if we demand too much from them and no respect etc.
That is amazing. Terps at my company cannot refuse service to Deaf clients. We work for a business that serves the clients. It is our responsibility to please the clients. Clients do not need to please terps or terp business.


Quote:
I talked a terp. & my friends about your post and need their feedback last week. They are total surprised and said that itīs too much demanding.
Too demanding? That is surprising. It is really no big deal. Many businesses have dress codes for employees. Terping is the same. The code is for professionalism, and to make things comfortable for the clients. That is good business practice.

Quote:
Would you wear like this during hot summer time?
We wear whatever is appropriate to that specific time and place. I don't wear a black suit for daily work. That is for church and formal business assignments. If I terp at a picnic, I wear casual clothes. If I terp at a public school, I dress similar to the teacher staff. BTW, I live in SC, and work during very hot summers; the good news is, all the buildings here have excellant AC!

Quote:
She said that she will tell her clients to look for other terps if they do not sataisfy what she wear.
Wow! That is a very unprofessional selfish attitude!

Quote:
My friends said that deafies should be glad that they have terps. around. Why demanding too much?
Oh, my!

Quote:
Honestly Reba, I order terps often for years due parent meeting, evenings, conference, lawyers, doctors, agreement contract, etc. etc. The kind/color of clothes, jewellery, hair, make-up etc. what terps wear is really doesnt bother me & my friends.
That is most important. If you are satisfied, that is what counts.

Quote:
I ordered terp last summer. She wore mini rock and t-shirt.
Sorry, I don't know what is a "mini rock". Was her t-shirt a plain color, or did it have pictures and words? In your opinion, was the outfit appropriate for the setting? That is important. If you and the hearing clients were dressed in a similar way, then that is OK.

Quote:
Agency do not accept "private" terps and would not pay me if I hire private terps.
What do you mean, "would not pay me"?


Quote:
I apply my wish terp. to agency then they make an arrangement for me where I should meet, time, etc. etc. etc.
This is how it works here:
The Deaf client needs a terp (for work/college/medical appt.). The hearing client (work super/college disabilities office/doctor's receptionist) contacts the interpreting company. The terp company schedules the terp, tells the terp when and where to show up. The company tells the terp what kind of appointment, so the terp knows what to wear and what kind of signing is expected. The hearing client pays the terp company. The terp company pays the terps.

Quote:
Agency cover terps cost:
Parent evening, meeting, conference, lawyer, rights, agreement contract with bank over house loan, notary, etc etc. except divorce........
Who pays the agency?

Quote:
Healthy insurance cover terps cost:
therapies,
contract agreement with doctor before an operation
important appointment with doctor over result etc
Do you mean your health insurance pays for the terp? In America, the hospitals and doctors are responsible for paying the terps.

Quote:
No offense to everyone
No offense taken. I hope not to offend you also. I am just curious and interested in the ways different countries use terps. This is very educational to me!
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Unread 01-17-2005, 10:21 AM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TTT
Can I dress like Sharon Stone in movie Basic Instinct..???

I just need to uncross my legs.
That reminds me. Deaf clients have NO restrictions on how they dress or behave. Sometimes it can be very distracting. Clients can wear bright zig-zag stripes, short skirts and no undies, see-thru tops, etc. They can twirl their hair, click tongue piercings, pop facial pimples, sleep, belch, or pick their noses. Does a terp complain? Never! We just learn to ignore distractions.

Terps also have to control their emotions. I have had to interpret extremely emotional conversations. Sometimes strong anger is expressed, sometimes heart-breaking sorrow and deep anguish floods out from the clients. I just put my personal feelings "on hold" until later. That is why God created pillows--pillows can accept many boo hoo tears and fist punchings.
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Unread 01-17-2005, 10:29 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by Interpretrator
That just cracked me up. I have heard some INTERESTING stories about some interpreters who would have made you very happy!
Ha, ha, yes! I am paranoid about showing more than expected. I prefer not to wear tops with low necklines or "gappy" button fronts. I always carefully check the restroom mirror before assignments. I don't need to be standing on a platform with a streamer of TP hanging on my shoe, or a skirt stuck in my pantyhose, or a booger-flag waving from my nose. Yikes!

Some things can't be helped. Sometimes I unexpectedly break out in hives (I don't know what I am allergic to). It can happen while I am terping a class. I will be sitting at the front of the class, signing away, when all of a sudden my lips swell to unbelievable size! I can feel it happen, and I can see the students' eyes get bigger and bigger. Oh, well!
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Unread 01-17-2005, 10:43 AM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Interpretrator
I agree, I think smocks are pretty much a thing of the past, or at least that is what I have heard from people who have been interpreting for 20 or 30 years and have seen the profession change.
Last week I found out that I might need to wear a smock! Not for terp reasons, but for safety reasons. Some of the classes I terp require smocks, safe shoes, and safety glasses for everyone present because they use chemicals and sharp instruments.

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The above picture is very professional, but it definitely depends on where you are interpreting.
Absolutely. I usually wear a similar suit just for Sunday church service interpreting, or very formal business meetings.


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In a community college setting (where I mostly interpret), that would be too formal. I would feel really silly if I were dressed better than the teacher! I usually wear a black or dark blue plain T-shirt (no pockets, logos, etc.) and a pair of neutral-colored pants.
I usually dress similar to the instructors, too. It depends on the course. Some of the instructors dress more "business-like" for the traditional courses. Others dress more casually for the "artistic" or technilogical courses. None of the instructors wear t-shirts, so I usually wear a shirt with a collar, like a polo shirt.

For employee meetings, it depends on the industry involved.

For one client, I used to interpret regular monthly business meetings. They were fairly casual Friday afternoon meetings. Well, one month I showed up as usual in the regular "casual-Friday" attire. No one bothered to inform me that this month's meeting was special. The theme was "Oscar" night. Yes, everyone was dressed in tux or evening gown, and the room was decorated like for the Academy Awards. Gulp!
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